Umno’s disciplinary board today suspended leading deputy presidential contender Datuk Seri Ali Rustam for breaching the party’s regulation, ending days of intense speculation.
Umno Disciplinary board chairman Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen Ismail made the announcement at the party’s headquarters here.
With this action, the contest for the party’s deputy president post will be a straight fight between Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib.
The board also issued a warning to Umno Youth chief contender Khairy Jamaluddin, who was deemed guilty, while clearing his rival Datuk Seri Khir Toyo of any wrongdoing.
Since the speculation (about his impending suspension) began circulating last Friday, Ali has continued to appear before assembly delegates in Shah Alam last night and Ipoh today, and had refused to answer any question on the allegation.
Ali has been named as the favourite candidate because of his vast network of supporters among the party grass roots. He contested the vice president post in 2004 for the first time and won.
Ali’s political secretary Saadun Basirun from Bukit Katil division was suspended for three years
All together, there were 15 names, mostly division chiefs, on the board’s list. Muhammad was not on the list.